The Set-Top Boxes (STBs) are necessary for Indian consumers to watch TV, even if they want to watch free-to-air (FTA) channels. The Indian government has realised that it puts pressure on consumers to purchase an STB even when they don't want to. To ensure that customers don't have to spend money on something they don't really need, the government has come up with a plan. The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister, Anurag Thakur, has said that if televisions come with built-in satellite tuners, users would not require an STB to watch FTA channels.
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There are over 200 FTA channels that Indian consumers can watch. Right now, even to watch FTA channels, they have to purchase an STB. The government wants to eliminate that cost for the users. The consumption of FTA channels has increased over the last few years. Due to the rise in DTH bills because of the NTO (New Tariff Order) 3.0, consumers are more likely to pay for OTT (over-the-top) content and watch their TV content with the FTA channels.
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With built-in satellite tuners in televisions, consumers would just have to install an antenna on the top or rooftop of their house so that the signals can be directly transmitted to the TV. Doordarshan is already working to convert its FTA channels from analog transmission to digital satellite transmission. According to a Livemint report, the government is yet to take a final decision on the matter. Thakur had also written to the Information Technology (IT) minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to issue guidelines to the TV manufacturers to comply with the Bureau of Industrial Standards (BIS) standards for built-in satellite tuners.
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It would be very convenient for new TV owners to watch both OTT content on their Smart TVs as the apps come pre-loaded, and then because of the built-in satellite tuner, there would also be satellite TV without any additional cost. Free Dish users have doubled since 2015 in India, said the report.